Mathieu van der Poel powers to Strade Bianche victory
Mathieu van der Poel won Strade Bianche after he attacked on the final climb of Via Santa Caterina to cross the line ahead of Julian Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal
“Strade is one of the races I really wanted to win, and it’s really cool to win it today,” Van der Poel said. “I felt really good, I launched an attack at the last gravel section, and I came with Bernal and Alaphilippe in the lead and we did a pretty strong ride with the three of us.
"I felt I had something left in the legs to go all out on the last climb here. It’s amazing to finish it off this way.
"I think Julian was a bit tired at the end, he told me as well that his legs weren’t that good anymore. Normally he always rides full gas with us but he skipped some turns so I knew that he was not lying. It was especially Egan Bernal who gave me a good impression on the uphill sections, but I knew the last section was really something for me."
The race featured 63 kilometres of gravel roads across in 11 sectors. There were several attacks during the first part of the race until one first group was created by riders like Rudy Molard, Loïc Vliegen, Tosh Van Der Sande and Tom Bohli, among others.
The situation changed again and with around 60 kilometres to go, the peloton broke into pieces and a strong chase group was formed with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Egan Bernal, Tom Pidcock (Ineos-Grenadiers), Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Behind them a group that included Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), faild to reach the leaders.
With around 20 kilometres to go, Van Aert and Pidcock lost terrain to the rest of the group and started chasing while Trek-Segafredo’s Quinn Simmons crashed in a curve.
On the last climb, into Siena, the Dutch national champion made an impressive acceleration that Alaphilippe and Bernal couldn't respond to.
VIDEO: 2021 Strade Bianche Mens Race Highlights
2021 Strade Bianche Mens Race Top 10
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 04:40:29
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:05
3 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:20
4 Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:51
5 Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:54
6 Michael Gogl (Aut) Qhubeka-Assos
7 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
8 Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka-Assos 00:02:25
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Premier Tech
10 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 00:02:39